Mayor Fischer signs ordinance to codify June 19 Jubilee Commission to help organize annual events

Continuing his commitment to honoring Juneteenth, Mayor Greg Fischer today signed an ordinance to codify the 15-member Juneteenth Jubilee Commission as the city’s official commission, which will help organize events celebrating the historical significance of Juneteenth in Louisville.

Held on June 19, Juneteenth is the oldest known holiday commemorating the final communication of the abolition of slavery in the United States. In June 2020, the mayor signed an executive order recognizing the day as a holiday for Louisville Metro Government (LMG) workers, effective in 2021. The metro board approved the ordinance to codify the commission on 17 February 2022. Councilor Paula McCraney, D-7, was the primary sponsor of the measure, which was co-sponsored by Councilors Barbara Shanklin, D-2, Keisha Dorsey, D-3, and Donna Purvis, D-5, along with the Councilman Jecorey Arthur, D-4, and Council President David James, D-6.

“Juneteenth is part of our shared history. The proud moments and the painful moments,” the mayor said. “The signing of this ordinance secures the prominence of Juneteenth in Louisville and I hope this commemoration will serve as a time of learning and commitment to a beautifully diverse America where black history is understood by all as the history American.”

The 15-member commission includes representatives from the Metro Council, the business community, arts, educational and faith-based institutions, and others. They will be responsible for looking at opportunities to expand access to educational programs and develop cultural events for Juneteenth 2022 and into the future – to raise community awareness of the importance of Juneteenth.

In addition, the commission will help develop a budget and secure sponsorship and other funds needed to make the celebration happen, in coordination with Waterfront Park, Metro Council and LMG. The commission will work to feature events that showcase Black-owned businesses, encourage entrepreneurship and wealth creation, and showcase historically Black colleges and universities.

Last year’s Juneteenth Jubilee Celebration events included a youth day camp, panel discussions, acts of service, a wellness fair, live musical performances at Fourth Street Live and a worship service .

The Mayor was joined today by Councilwoman McCraney, Director of Equity Michael Meeks, Executive Director of the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage Aukram Burton, who described the story of Juneteenth, and Deborah Bilitski with Waterfront Park, along with other members of the Metro Council and members of the Commission.

“This legislation creating the June 19 Jubilee Commission is rare, historic and significant. I can’t think of a greater cause for celebration than learning that one is free from slavery,” Councilor McCraney said. “It is appropriate to sign this ordinance today during Black History Month. This is a reminder to all that black history is under threat, but those of us who care about American history, what black history is, will continue to support programs and events that reflect the unique contributions of African Americans.

“Our city, our state and our nation were built by slaves,” Councilman Arthur said. . I am proud that we started the Juneteenth Jubilee in 2019 and now it will live on for years as an official city commission.

The calendar of events for June 19, 2022 will be posted on closer to the holidays.

Aurora J. William